Talkin' Baseball Analytics with Alum Piesik
Shane Piesik’s parents own a popular restaurant in Hampton, New Hampshire, where his father Andy’s motto is “Whatever it takes to get the job done.” So it comes as no surprise that the younger Piesik ’16 would follow in his father’s footsteps, adopting the same sentiment in pursuing his career.
Coming to the conclusion that his road to the Major Leagues wasn’t going to be on the field as a player, the recent Keene State graduate decided he would try to make it to the majors by cashing in on the latest explosion of data that has hit the game – analytic statistics. “Teams are using analytics to gain a competitive edge,” he said. “The owners know that there’s a lot of money and profits at stake and you have to use all the information that’s available.”
Instead of just evaluating a player’s performance, Piesik devised a formula that measures a pitcher’s performance as it equates to team revenues.
Piesik first espoused his theory in a presentation entitled “Monetary Mound,” last semester at the Eastern Economics Association Conference in Washington, DC. Piesik was encouraged by professors Marie Duggan, Armagan Gezici, and the entire Keene State Economics Department. “They all helped me immensely with that project; I couldn’t have done it without them,” he said.
Coming to Keene State to study econometrics, Piesik felt the welcoming faculty and small class size enabled him to thrive. “I took a lot of classes that were critical and crucial to my development,” said Piesik. “The faculty was very dedicated and caring and helped me every step of the way.”
Later in the summer, he made a presentation at the SABR (Society for American Baseball Research) Conference in Miami and served as a volunteer at the ‘Saberseminar’ in Boston, where he got to rub shoulders with some of the top front-office people in MLB.
Piesik’s interest in baseball dates back to his childhood growing up in Southern California. He often visited his grandparents whose house was five minutes away from the home of the California Angels.
After moving with his family to New Hampshire, Piesik, whose grandfather was former MVP of the Northern League, had his share of highlights on the diamond. At Portsmouth High School, he was a member of a Clipper team that set a national record (89) for consecutive wins. Although he didn’t play baseball at Keene State, Piesik did play on the club team at Florida International University, where he spent his junior year on a National Student Exchange.
Currently taking classes in an accelerated 11-month program in analytics at UNH, Piesik hopes to eventually break into the sports industry. “It’s all about who you know and what you know,” he said. “I’m trying to take care of what I know at UNH. The ‘who you know’ part of the equation is a little bit harder. Hopefully that will come by going to conferences and meeting people. Everyone I met has been very encouraging.”